Functions and Simplifications in S/4HANA
For long-standing customers of SAP ERP, nothing changes in functionality with the release 1610 of SAP S/4HANA. Beyond that, SAP S/4HANA has a number of new interfaces, functions and thus possibilities for significantly simplifying processes in companies. With the assistance of SAP Screen Personas, customers who use legacy interfaces to perform SAP S/4HANA transactions are provided with this support to simplify their user interface.
SAP's so-called Simplification List – to which customers have free access online at any time – explains the innovations in SAP S/4HANA in comparison to SAP ERP. Features that are not redesigned yet are provided through compatibility packs. In addition, new customers can install S/4HANA based on SAP Best Practices. The SAP Activate methodology assists new customers in that process.
Moreover, SAP plans annual releases for S/4HANA; updates shall be provided quarterly. Each current release is then maintained for a period of five years. In addition, so-called Roadmaps for SAP S/4HANA are available for a period of three years; they describe concepts for future developments. The Simplification List summarizes innovations in the areas of interface, function, data model, and landscape. These changes can be described as follows:
- In contrast to SAP GUI (transactional), in SAP Fiori (RoleTailored) the number of screens is reduced. Also, the changes between screens have been reduced. Furthermore, the number of essential fields for roles and processes have become smaller.
- The distinction between OLTP and OLAP functions has been removed. Thus, complex analyses in ERP are possible and mark the starting point for transactions. That is the case in the resource planning, for example. If the key performance indicator (KPI) of the stock inventory falls below a certain value, the system sends alerts, so one can react accordingly.
- SAP Fiori makes it possible to use the same user interface with the same functions on all terminals (PC, tablet, and smartphone). One does not need training for the use of the software.
- In the ERP system or in an entire SAP landscape there is only one solution for a business process available. Until now, within the SAP ERP system several transactions for one business process have been available. Also, there have been solutions within the SAP ERP system, e. g. in e-commerce, where SAP Hybris is available today.
- Until now, it has been necessary to aggregate data in predefined formats in each booking process. This means that data appears in an aggregated format to have compact data blocks. This step is dropped in S/4HANA. Originally, developers used aggregates to process data efficiently. However, the disadvantage of this process is that the created aggregates relate mostly to a particular inquiry. New inquiries require new aggregates. The concept of not accumulating data but adding up individual items according to any criteria, creates a high degree of flexibility in the preparation of analyses. At the same time, the throughput rate increases, meaning that more postings can be made because fewer tables are updated and there is no waiting time due to database locks.
- The SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) is now available as Embedded EWM with SAP S/4HANA Release 1610. Also, SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization PP-DS (SAP APO PP/DS) for production planning in logistic processes is now a component of S/4HANA Release 1610. With that the relevant core interfaces (CIF) and redundant data are dropped. Consequently, infrastructural expenses and operational expenses are reduced.
Based on these diverse modifications one can identify that S/4HANA offers many simplifications for SAP users. In the next part
you can learn how the change to S/4HANA specifically looks like.
Translation by Gohar Zatrjan